The BVI and other member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are set to benefit from the implementation of two European Union (EU) funded projects centred around sustainability.
The projects are the Biodiversity Support Programme for ACP Coastal Environments (BioSPACE) and the Integrated Landscape Approaches & Investments in Sustainable Land Management in the OECS (ILM).
Both initiatives will run for five years.
BioSPACE contributes to the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States and coastal countries within the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).
The ILM project, which complements BioSPACE and officially commenced in 2020, aims to optimise the contribution of land to agriculture, food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the preservation of ecosystems and the essential services they provide.
The project will contribute to climate-smart and sustainable agriculture farming systems and the enhancement of cross-sector approaches to land use planning and management.
Additionally, it will contribute to curbing deforestation and forest degradation by reducing deforestation and forest degradation emissions, and strengthen ecosystem management in general.
The first joint Project Steering Committee Meeting of the OECS Environmental Sustainability Division for the BioSPACE and ILM projects was held on March 10, 2021 with key decision-makers within the sector along with officials of the OECS Commission and the EU participating.
Addressing the virtual meeting participants, Director General of the OECS, Dr Didacus Jules, highlighted the importance of these projects to the sustainability of the Caribbean Region’s ecosystems.
He noted that: “One must bear in mind that in many instances, biodiversity and diverse ecosystems contribute to our social well being and our economic prosperity through the services they provide. Consider further that the loss of such diversity in nature because of the impacts of climate change and other natural and human-induced hazards threatens the existence of flora and fauna species and causes loss of ecosystem functions.”
EU Ambassador to The Eastern Caribbean States, Małgorzata Wasilewska emphasised the importance of such initiatives.
He gave a stark reminder that “when scientific studies tell us that we have wiped out 60% of the planet’s biodiversity during the last 50 years only, this should be more than a wake-up call.”
“There is hope but to keep this hope alive, any effort counts at personal, local, national, or global level,” Wasilewska explained.
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